It’s hard to know how to start this article. It’s hard not to generalize or not pinpoint.
But a few Sundays ago, I swung in my hammock outside as sunset light spilled through the trees,
and in a moment of pure honesty, I said something to my friend on the phone, and my breath caught in my throat.
I told her of a conversation I’d had that morning with one of the dearest ladies from our church.
It was after our church anniversary picnic, and I’d given her a hug and she’d exclaimed over loving my dress. I laughed because almost every Sunday she commented on my appearance or asks about my life, she’s one of those dear people who only encourages, the kind we are so blessed to have in our church family.
She said “You’re so skinny!”, and I laughed and said it was the dress. She laughed and argued back “no it’s not!”, I just hugged her again, said my goodbyes and started walking out.
Halfway to the door, I couldn’t take it.
I half turned and called back “Being skinny is not the goal, being healthy is!”.
I got a happy “Amen!” in return.
She didn’t see the sudden tears in my eyes.
I’m over it.
I’m over the things we tell ourselves. I’m over the lies. I’m over the comparing.
I’m over the photoshopped magazines and the “sucking it all in” Instagram pictures.
I’m over the perfect bikini bodies, and I’m over the endless “dieting” updates.
I’m over the way I compare myself in the harsh changing room lights and mirrors.
I’m over the way a skinny photo gets more likes and comments than a heavier one.
I’m over the way eating a simple cheeseburger can make me feel like I need to run 10 miles, and I’m over the way we have to say “having a treat!” while eating ice cream.
We cheer each other on the minute we start another slimming diet,
we comment on every slimmer picture on social media. We rejoice over lost pounds.
We measure each other up when we take pictures, and we take 5 minutes to pose
just the right way to accentuate and hide ourselves next to each other.
And then we bring it into the church where it doesn’t belong.
Disorders prosper when we as the church don’t fight the Skinny Lie. Or even worse, when we hide it. Eating disorders top the list of things I wish the church talked more about.
I think it isn’t talked about very much because a lot of us actually think it’s true.
That even though it’s not good to be a size zero…it wouldn’t be awful if I was a size 4.
It also wouldn’t be awful if I skipped lunch, or 4 lunches, or 3 breakfasts…and it certainly wouldn’t be awful if I received a bunch of compliments on my appearance the next Sunday!
When you live in a state of needing to control your weight,
you do not live in a state of joy, you live in a state of restriction.
And the world continues to tell us that you’ll live longer and happier and better, but….
Being Skinny won’t make you live longer.
It simply won’t. Being skinny or overly healthy won’t change the day God wrote from the beginning of time that you’d leave this earth, no matter what label of how you died the world puts on it. The day God calls you home, is THE DAY. Being skinny won’t add one second to that day. Do you see what I’m saying here? You can’t prolong your life. At all.
I’m over all the articles (in the entire world) that says if you eat 3 cheerios and
half a handful of acai berries and run 7 miles, you’ll live forever.
You’re laughing because that’s outrageous, right? But you just read that acai berries are a superfood, and now you’re wondering if you should just eat acai berries and that would get rid of the extra muffin flab you feel you really shouldn’t have.
Correct me if I’m wrong. You just thought about fat you want to not have and considered a 3 cheerio/half handful of acai berries/7 mile run because you want to be perfect.
Which leads me to my next point.
Being Perfect will get you killed.
I remember exactly where I was the first time I hugged a dear friend and noticed I could feel every single bone in her back. Her spine was a connection to every rib, every bone; she was literally enveloped in a jacket that hid her figure. She wore a size zero in clothes.
She was so tiny that I held her lightly, afraid of crushing her, afraid of hurting her.
Her eyes reminded me of a bird, fragile, small. I stepped back and she smiled,
but she wasn’t all there. She was a shadow of who I knew she was.
And my heart broke into a million pieces.
I decided that day that being skinny wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it at all.
My friend is still alive today, but it wasn’t without lots of struggling, hard conversations, re-training her mind/thinking, hours of broken tears, and lots of days she wanted to give up and be skinny again.
Hear me out…..I’m not saying don’t eat healthy, I’m not saying you can’t enjoy running or working out or living a natural lifestyle, hey, I lead one myself …. BUT.
I AM saying if you do it to reach a perfection you will never attain this side of Heaven,
you will slowly die. It. will. kill. you.
Eating “perfectly” or barely eating, eating only 3 cheerios or eating only non-GMO, organic, gluten free, air free, fat free, dairy free, soy free, meat free, rice free, sugar free, pesticide free, grown in a garden of Eden proportions and watered by the salt free tears of angels, and refusing to eat anything else, you’ve missed the glory of God’s creation and our purpose on this earth.
The purpose to grow on the land and eat the fruit of our labors,
to the glory and to the praise of the One Who made it all good.
Trading a good life worth living well for a perfect bikini body is not a trade you should make. Putting a goal of skinniness over asking to see yourself as God sees you is deadly.
And much more than that, it’s not a calling God has placed upon you.
God would never call you to something that would harm you. EVER.
and that’s why
Being Skinny is Not a Holy Goal
Being Skinny does not make us more like Jesus. Being Skinny is not in the Ten Commandments. Being Skinny does not make you a Proverbs 31 woman.
Being Skinny does not make you more desirable to a Holy God (or to a good man for that matter). Being Skinny does not make you a better Christian than the woman next to you on the church pew who wears a size 18. Being Skinny does not make you love Jesus more. Being Skinny doesn’t make you the perfect girl. Being Skinny doesn’t make you the perfect mother.
Being Skinny wasn’t preached from the Sermon on the Mount or told to any of the women “Go and sin no more, oh and also be skinny and fit because that’s what holy women look like.”
So being Skinny …. can’t be put on the same level as pursuing Godliness.
Because quite simply, it doesn’t have a place there and won’t ever have one.
Pride in our bodies doesn’t belong in front of the throne.
It shouldn’t need to be said, but God doesn’t see your body the way you do.
He sees ears that hear, brains that can understand and compute better than all of his creation put together, souls that awaken to the life only He can give, hearts that come alive, fingers that can feel and speak languages to the deaf, vocal cords that sing, mouths that speak joy, noses that smell flowers, lips that part to reveal a laugh, lungs that breathe thousands of times per day, arms and legs that swim through water with gracefulness and steadily climb up mountains and run with agility and speed.
He sees skin that protects bones, and blood that circulates and pumps organs we forget we even have. He sees the best of all His creation in us and says “It is Good.”
And we stand under the harsh lights and say “It’s not good enough.”
We need to remind ourselves that we see our bodies with a broken worldview,
but God doesn’t. God doesn’t care about all the diets in the world, He cares about YOU.
“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
When we look at ourselves in pride or in shame, we aren’t looking at ourselves with a Biblical view, and we certainly aren’t bringing our hearts before the throne, or our souls to be revitalized but instead are bringing our bodies with vanity and pride to parade. God is not glorified in a proud or shamed heart that rests in whether you’re skinny or not.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder or a mindset that tells you you need to be a certain size before you can truly be happy with your life…hear this:
Being skinny is not the goal, being healthy is.
God’s creation is all good. God’s creation of US is all good.
So what here isn’t good? It’s the way we see it. It’s our broken worldview.
How God’s heart must break over us when we don’t see ourselves as He made us!
God calls us to something higher than what we can see.
There is something mightier at stake here….the goal of trusting Jesus.
Eating disorders offer rules that tell us maybe just maybe you’ll make it to perfection.
But Jesus! Jesus offers FREEDOM. Jesus offers JOY. Jesus offers PEACE. Jesus offers REST.
Jesus offers a perfection we could never attain, not a physical perfection, but a spiritual one. A perfection that could not be torn away, a perfection that could not be lost.
A perfection better than every health benefit we could feel on this earth. We will know it one day when we step into His presence and realize we were once seeking the wrong goal.
Jesus calls us to trust Him with everything, with all that we are, with all our days:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not LIFE more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’, For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:25-27, 31-33
Our God knows that we struggle with these things, and He knows that we are so prone to worry or to fear or to shame. He knows the hold this broken world has on us. But He sent His Son to break all those chains, including the chains that whisper to you that you’re not good enough as you are.
Jesus sees you as you are: a beautiful, beloved, loving heart inside a God-bearing image of Himself. Don’t let yourself believe you need to change your outward appearance for the King of Kings.
Nothing you could do could ever change His love for you, nor those around you that know your true inner beauty that will never fade: the beauty of a soul who loves Jesus.